Thursday, February 05, 2009

Planning Commission Denies Star Noodle Zoning Ordinance Re-interpretation

PC rejects 25th Street technical zoning rule change by an 8-1 vote

Here's a quick follow-up on the matter which we discussed here at Weber County Forum on 1/7/09, i.e., FOM Thaine Fischer's Planning Commission petition to re-interpret Ogden zoning ordinances to permit the opening of a new 500-seat private club in the Star Noodle building, on the south side of Historic 25th Street. We received a short email from a concerned gentle reader yesterday evening, reporting that the matter has been heard, deliberated and denied by the Commission:

The Planning Commission Voted 8-1 to deny Fischer 2 bars per linear block ordinance change. Ron Atencio was the only yea vote. On to the City Council. Hope it goes as well there.
We'll remark that while it's indeed possible that Mr. Fischer could have this matter added to the council calender on his own motion, notwithstanding Wednesday's PC vote, we also believe it's unlikely that the present council would override the PC's negative recommendation.

Reader comments are invited, as always.

28 comments:

althepal said...

Hooray for the Planning Commission. Another bar on two-bit street. Just what we needed.

Bill C. said...

What's plan B,a chinese restaurant?

Curmudgeon said...

A very solid "no" vote. But I'm not at all sure the two-bars-per-block rule is a good one. For downtown "entertainment districts" [so to speak], I prefer the Verizon policy: "More bars in more places."

I wasn't there for the discussion and I don't know the rationale behind the votes of the "nays" --- I imagine some reluctance to grant spot exemptions might have played role. But, based purely on the little I do know, I suspect Mr. Artensio would have had company voting "aye" if I'd had a vote.

fact checker said...

I'm trying to update my facts. Would somebody please check me?

1. Star Noodle is owned by Provident Parters of Scottsdale, who have been buying property locally then neglecting it, planning only to flip when the Godfrey-based economy takes off.

2. Godfrey moved the River motel into the hands of Provident as well, but pushing out the previous owner.

3. Provident was hoping the Windsor re-zone would allow them to re-do their Star Noodle building too - that was the real motive for the ordnance.

4. The planning commission is getting wise to the whole scam now that it is collapsing.

5. Provident will take a financial bath when they realize Ogden is no longer a dictatorship that can gurantee their profits.

6. We may soon be rid of Provident as we will soon be rid of Gadi and Godfrey's other leeches.

Please correct me as needed.

Thanks.

Wm M said...

The 24th and 25th Street bar market is saturated …

There are numerous options …in addition to the bar that has been approved at 25th and Ogden Ave there is also:

Angelo’s

Kokomo

Rocks

Kamikazes

Wiseguy’s

Lighthouse

D&R Spirits

Sports Page

Wine Cellar

Top Shelf

Rumors

Roosters

The City Club

Brewskis

… just in the 24th and 25th Street area …

Also 10 restaurants with full liquor licenses …

The downtown area needs a lot more parking and more retail …

More bars will not attract more tourism ...

Wm M said...

Fact Checker:

A good example of Provident tactics is renting a bar space at 25th and Ogden Ave to some poor soul who had no idea Provident also wanted to rent more bar space to a competitor 2 blocks down 25th Street ...

These people have absolutely no "Otown" regard towards their tenant's success ...

Curmudgeon said...

Wm M:

Didn't Angelo's close?

In any case, it's a competitive market. Fella wants to open a bar, and he gets the market and location wrong, and goes under: his investment, his judgment, his loss. If his bar succeeds, and an older one can't compete and goes under... well, that happens all the time in an open economy... to bars, restaurants, motels/hotels, theaters, retail shops, and so on.
For example, I liked the old Pointe Theater, and was sorry when it closed. But it didn't provide stadium seating, which movie customers seemed to prefer [I know I do], and in the end couldn't compete with the new theater complexes that opened, most lately the one at the Junction. It's tough making a buck out there.

The legit complaint, though, would involve public [tax] money subsidizing new competition for established businesses. But absent that, I'm not sure denying licenses to new businesses to preserve old ones is the way to go. Wasn't the way to go with the guy who wanted to open the Indian Restaurant in the River Project Area and was denied. Not sure it's the way to go with the Star Noodle property either.

I wish there was more retail downtown too, and more varied retail. But I don't see how telling someone he can't open a bar he wants to invest in will bring more retail downtown.

dan s. said...

Based only on what I've read, and having no particular expertise in this, my guess is that the Planning Commission made its determination on purely legal grounds. There's an ordinance prohibiting more than a certain number of bars per block, and based on their interpretation of that ordinance, they had no discretion.

In that case, the City Council would have a completely different role: They could actually be asked to change the ordinance. Their decision should then be based not on what the ordinance currently says but on whether they think it's a good idea.

I'm no fan of Provident Partners, which currently has two "for rent" signs up on my block. They are destabilizing neighborhoods by turning so many homes into rentals. But I still tend to agree with Curm about more bars in more places, so I wouldn't blame the council if it decides to change the ordinance.

25th Street definitely does not need more parking. For one thing, I've never had trouble finding a parking space within a block of wherever I was going. For another, the only way to make a downtown viable for pedestrians (and distinguish it from suburban sprawl) is to keep the buildings close together instead of separating them with vast stretches of asphalt.

As for more retail, I'd like to see that, but I don't think it's the government's business to dictate exactly what kinds of businesses are viable on a particular street. Let the market decide.

fact checker said...

Dan S.

Let the market decide? Sounds good in theory.

But tell it to the guy who owns the Helena, who has been blocked from opening a bed and breakfast because he doesn't give the right contributions to the right people.

Planning and Zoning has enough rules that it can block or allow whatever the mayor wants, and say it's all according to the "law". That's most of the reason for the law, by the way.

dan s. said...

fact checker,

I think we agree that there should be a level playing field for businesses in Ogden.

My only suggestion is that when specific instances of unfairness arise, we need to make a lot of noise and address them based on the specific facts.

I'd also suggest electing a different mayor, but we won't have a chance to do that until 2011.

Standard Examiner where are you? said...

Where is the S E?

Why arn't they asking the Mayor if it is in the best interest if Republican State Senator Greiner ramains as Chief of Police while breaking the Federal Law?

Why arn't they making each city council person go on record to find out if Greiner should resign or if their willing to fork out over $200,000.00 of taxpay money for him to stay as
Police Chief? or should Greiner have to personally pay the $200,000.00 to reamin as Police Chief

democrat said...

The S E and their political republican culture of corruption, has already tried to make it a consensus that Ogden wants the Republican Senator Law breaker to remain as Ogden's City’s Police Chief.

Didn't you read their headline?

Wm M said...

With all due respect ...

To paraphrase Kenneth Graham ...

“The clever men at Oxford

Know all that there is to be knowed

But they, none of them, know one half as much

As intelligent Mr Curmudgeon”

democrat said...

By the way for the record. Senator Greiner did not win in Weber County.

He should resign from both posts.

He is a law breaker.

Curmudgeon said...

Been several posts over the last months about the Helena owner wanting to make it into a B and B, and being prevented from doing so. I'm curious about that. I'm not sure what zoning ordinances would prevent that kind of use in that building. Are there any? Did he apply for a business license or building license [to renovate] and get turned down? If so, why [meaning what reason was given for denying them by the PC or the LC or the City?]. Anyone knows anything specific about this, please pass it on. Be good to know more than rumor on this.

Curmudgeon said...

SE Where Are You:

Ah... the SE did ask the Mayor the questions you posed. Reported on his replies in the last story it did on Greiner's problem. The Mayor's answer was that he doesn't think Greiner is violating the Hatch Act [the ruling is being appealed] and that he does think it "worth it" to keep Greiner as PC and State Senator. You may not like those answers. I don't particularly either. But the SE did not ignore the matter.

As for the Council being "willing" to fork over the fine: it's really not a choice they can to make. If the City is assessed with the fine by the courts, the city has to pony up. It's really not a matter of choice, as I understand it, and under the law being applied here, it's the city that's in violation and that will have to return the grant money involved [i.e. pay the "fine"].

I don't think Ogden should have a part time police chief either. But the SE has not been ignoring the story, and the Mayor's answers to the questions you wanted asked were reported in the SE in its last Greiner story.

Curmudgeon said...

Since downtown development seems to be the general topic, thought I'd mention that I went to Mr. Jeff Wood's presentation on "Trolley's for Ogden" at noon today up on campus. It was very interesting, particularly the numbers based on other mid-sized cities putting in trolley lines, funding opportunities [it doesn't all have to come from the taxpayers], the amount of walking-traffic in business districts trolleys bring in, and the amount of Transit Oriented Development they generate, and the role urban rail can play, and does play, in reducing ozone pollution [Weber County is one of three in Utah on the fed hit list for violating air standards, and expensive remedial action will soon be mandated if we don't get it down], and so on. Several Ogden movers and shakers were in the audience. [Had to leave to teach a class 45 minutes in, just as the Q and A got going, so don't know what kind of exchanges happened then].

For example, addressing the discussion above about more parking downtown: Powell's bookstore in Portland did a foot traffic study comparing number of walk-in [as opposed to drive-in] customers per day before the trolley line near the store went in --- the number was three --- and after the trolley line went in --- the number was, I think, north of 550. Huge jumps in walk-in business good transit brings more than trumps the minor loss of parking along a street required to put the lines in. And so on.

The presentation will be repeated tonight in the Browning Theater at Union Station [7:00 PM]. I'd recommend attending if you're interested in the topic and free. [Councilwoman Jeske has a fuller post on Wood and his credentials a few threads down.]

Good Reader said...

Note in the online edition of the Trib today Thurs, Provo city council has hired an independent budget officer to keep tabs on their mayor and his finances. This might be a good idea for our city council to study.

OgdenLover said...

Curm,
The Pointe Theater on 12th Street has reopened as a bargain theater.

Dan,
Off Wall, there is a free block-long parking lot running behind the 25th St business on the North side of the street.

RJ Svengali said...

It is inconceivable to us that we can own something, and have to ask permission to develop it as we see fit.

Whats next, our neighbors telling us what colour we can paint our own house?

If you want to have control of our property, buy it from us.
Or at least cover our tax bill.

Bill C. said...

hey svengali, it's probaly time to post under your other handle,Stephen M. I'm not sure how you do things down there in Orem, but up here if you refer to yourself as plural, you ought to alternate a little bit.

Bill C. said...

Oh I get it, you guys are down in Orem learning how to be big shot developers by hanging out with Larry Myler. Are you going to specialize in swimming pools? Hotels or a combination of both.
Oh, I forgot, nothing's feasable without a gondola.

curious 1 said...

RJ where do you live so we can buy property next to you, establish a nuclear dump sine we own the peoperty and don't need the government telling me how to use my property.

And the city of Ogden planning department does tell business ouners what color to paint their buildings or trim in the historical district, FYI.

V said...

Any color as long as it is black.

RJ Svengali said...

Asking about a nuke plant next door is like, when told that it is never right to murder a child, asking what about baby Hitler?

Anyway, here our studied response.

If the end user pays for the entire cost of nuclear power generation, the total cost of nuclear power, from extraction to disposal, paying all involved a living wage, and using the most high-tech equipment possible in order to allow for maximum yield, the sum works out to about 3500 dollars a kilowatt hour.

And the end product would be basically sand. So, yes.

If you can convince power customers that a half million fold increase in their monthly power bill is doable so that we don't have children working mines for pennies a day, so we pay for old tech plants to all be decommissioned (and buried as a museum to squandered wealth), so that the real cost is not buried in some million-year fantasy budget, we would allow you to pay us to put a sand box in our backyard.

And you would be welcome to build a lovely castle made of sand.

RJ Svengali said...

Additionally, the computer ojn which we compose our missives, when calculated using the same total cost analysis, runs about 25,000.

At a lesser cost, purchasing a computer makes us directly responsible for tons of toxic computer waste being dumped down stream from villages where people are payed a dollar a day to manufacture the chips, and dispose of the same.

We are an advocate of total cost being borne by user, in all cases.

Off topic, we know, but hey, we might as well get our 25,000 dollars worth outta this thing.

We love this town.

Too Bad said...

That is too bad on the vote! Competition is absolutely necessary. Otherwise we end up with the dives and sub-par restaurants downtown. No one has anything to fear and no motivation to excel!!! It would be so nice if there was a higher standard downtown.

Wm M said...

RE: Too Bad ...

Dives, huh? The City Club has wall hangings that are worth more than your house ...

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